Thursday, April 30, 2020

Thursday This And That

Every day I check your site because it is F(H)-in' great!
The virus has taken away toilet paper, record stores, haircuts, hand-shakes, hugs,
family get togethers, church services, you name it. 
It's even taken away concerts, but as Eric Burdon (and FH) said best nearly 50 years ago:  They Can't Take Away Our Music!
They took concerts away and that slowed it down, but HECK, that's why there are 45s AND 33's!!!  Take it at your own chosen speed.
Clark Besch  

Media columnist Robert Feder and Me-TV-FM Program Director Rick O’Dell have teamed up and put together a list of songs that possibly shouldn’t be played during the on-going Covid-19 / CoronaVirus pandemic.

It’s all done in fun (as we DO have to keep our spirits up these days, don’t we???)  In fact, I dare not refer to any one of these tunes as “infectious,” I suppose!  (While listening to Sam Tallerico’s “Lost And Found Oldies Show” this weekend, I heard him read an email from a stay-at-home listener that asked, “Am I the only one getting three weeks to the gallon these days?”)

I’ve seen all kinds of lists offering up the perfect playlist for these difficult times … “Don’t Stand So Close To Me” by The Police always seems to be right up there at the top … as are tracks like “Keep Your Hands To Yourself” by The Georgia Satellites and “All By Myself” by Eric Carmen … I think at one point I came up with 18 PERFECT selections to fit the theme … certainly enough to fill an hour of “just for fun” programming.

But this list takes the opposite approach of songs that probably SHOULDN’T be played right now (all with tongue planted firmly in cheek.)  Songs like “Get Closer” by Seals and Crofts, “Touch Me” by The Doors, “Come A Little Bit Closer” by Jay and the Americans, “Close To You” by The Carpenters, and more.

O’Dell told Feder that he hasn’t taken any of the songs out of Me-TV FM’s rotation, and then also challenged his programming competitors to come up with a similar list of tunes to fit THEIR formats.

Which got me to thinking …

What songs would YOU guys add to the list?  Songs that fit the idea of this social distancing time.  Good, bad … anything that relates to the pandemic.  Who knows … if we get enough good answers, maybe Rick WILL run “The Pandemic Song Of The Day!!!”  A smile means a lot right now … so jump onboard!  (kk)

You can read the whole article here:

Now here’s hoping that Rick takes it to the next level and programs an hour of these “off limit” tunes!  (Get input from your listeners ... and usher in the "Dare Me" hour!!!  lol)  kk

Hey, I hope you all are doing well, but if I hear that slogan "we're all in this together" one more time from a new source ...
I hear ya …
I don’t know if you watched any of the live concert events this weekend …
The All Together Now program ended up running for over eleven hours.
I kinda popped in and out on that one.  (Fortunately, Tommy Roe had sent me the complete air schedule so I knew in advance who was going to be on when, so I could better plan my day to see the artists I most wanted to see … which included (besides Tommy, of course!) Peter Asher, The Honeys, Denny Tedesco, Matthew Wilder (best performance I saw on the whole show … an absolutely killer live version of “Break My Stride” … Matthew sounds GREAT and this one was a REAL highlight for me), Rick Springfield, our FH buddy Elliot Lurie, Peter Beckett of Player, Walter Egan, The Beach Boys (in a pre-taped performance of “Good Vibrations,” NOT what I would have expected … and featuring John Stamos on drums), Chris Montez, Mickey Thomas (doing some old gospel tune … again, not at ALL what I was expecting) and Alan Parsons and David Pack (of Ambrosia), performing a duet together of The Beatles’ tune “Tell Me What You See,” another show highlight.
I missed the Canadian concert the following night but have seen various video clips and this, too, looks like a really good show ... but you’re right … just repeatedly hammering it into our heads about “We’re all in this together” HAS worn out its welcome.
As more and more and more people are being diagnosed each day, let’s focus instead on a CURE for this thing before hundreds of thousands of American have been wiped out by it … because right now I don’t see us any better off than we were before … and all these lunatics spouting off about “It’s time to get back to normal” all but ensures that hundreds of thousands MORE Americans will die as a result.  It’s time to be smart, America.  (Damn, I sounded like Bernie Mac there for a second!!)  But serious … we’re only all in this together if each and every one of us do our part in creating a healthy and safe environment.  (kk)  

From Tom Cuddy …

Now this is just wild!!!

Billboard Magazine has dug deep into their own archives to find coverage of the 1918 Influenza Epidemic that shut down cities and live performances … and found some eerie similarities.

Meanwhile, one new concert that was announced this week was the return of Tommy James to The Genesee Theatre on Saturday, October 17th.  (I have to admit that I’m a little surprised by this one … Tommy is playing at The Arcada Theatre the month before … on Sunday, September 20th.  Are there enough Tommy James fans out there will to shell out for TWO shows less than 30 days apart???  Time will tell.  But we were there for Tommy’s first show at The Genesee and he KILLED it!!!  (By the way, Mr. James celebrated a birthday this week, too … Tommy turned 73 on Wednesday, April 29th … and you’d swear he isn’t HALF that age if you’ve seen him perform recently.)  kk

Tickets for BOTH shows are available thru the respective box offices:  

Frank B sent us this post from Mark Lindsay’s Facebook Page, talking about the work all these agencies are having to go thru these days trying to book, then rebook, then reschedule again concert dates due to the pandemic.  (While I guess at some point, the longer this goes on, the more everybody’s schedule opens up, I can’t even imagine the logistics involved with clearly schedules to accommodate postponed and rescheduled shows at the alarming rate this is happening today.  (kk) 

I'm putting this out as a reply to another post, because it's important that you see it. (And I promise I'll never say, "Man, my agent makes all this $$$ and I go out and do all the work!")
Deb and I had a conference call yesterday, initiated by my agent and the Happy Together promoter. We all commiserated about the current state of the world, but we’re all in agreement to stay positive and take it day by day. They’re booking and re-booking and working 3x as hard as in a normal year to bring music to our fans, and all we can do is wait to see what happens.
I’m doing my hour of vocal exercises every day, in addition to my yoga, floor exercises, and weights, and as soon as this f-ing virus gets its ass kicked, I’m ready to go out and do some kick ass rock and roll!


From FH Reader Mike Wolstein ...

My favorite Beach Boys album of all time is “Sunflower.”
Coming up on the 50th Anniversary of this LP, Endless Summer Quarterly is running a special Sunflower Anniversary issue.

(Hard to believe it’s been 50 years already … seems like we just celebrated The Beach Boys’ own 50 year anniversary with their reunion tour … which was 2012 … and now we’ve already jumped ahead to 1970!!!)   

Even harder to believe is that Endless Summer Quarterly is already in its 33rd Year!!!  Kudos to David Beard for his dedication to ALL things Beach Boys related.  He has always had the full support of and input from all of the Beach Boys, as well as friends and family of America’s Band.
Available by subscription only, you can get on this list here: ... which should put you in line to get this special anniversary issue publishing next month.

Always in depth … always interesting … sign up for your ESQ subscription now.  (kk)

More New Colony Six:

A hot topic indeed these past few days!!!

>>>Ron Wilson, who actually wrote the 1970 NC6 single "People And Me"  (Jerry Schollenberger)
I think Jerry means BOB Wilson, who I’ve been told was never OFFICIALLY a member of The New Colony Six … but did provide a few songs for the band to record. 
I remember for YEARS Joel Whitburn showed the writer of “People And Me” as BRIAN Wilson of The Beach Boys.  We set that record straight AGES ago yet, and it was fixed for future editions … yet for some reason, his latest edition of Top Pop Singles (through 2018) is showing Brian Wilson again.  I’ve dropped him another note to correct this information once again.  (kk)

Hi, Kent!
In light of the ongoing NC6 discussion, I'd like to get some info regarding the very early days of the group.
In the late 60s, my best friend Bob Holtz and I visited with his buddy Chris Wolski, who lived a few blocks from us, on the northwest side.  Bob said that Chris was with the NC6 for a short time (keyboards?), until his father made him quit because he didn't like the fact that the rest of the guys in the band were a year older, and that didn't sit well with dad.  What a shame ...
Bob said that he himself had tried out for the NC6 (drums) in the mid-60s, but wasn't good enough.

I got a bit of info regarding this story from Ray some years ago, but I'm still curious about the deal with Chris.
Mike Wolstein

From an interview I did with Ray Graffia, Jr., back in 2005 ... 

FH:  What were the signs that told you at such an early age that THE NEW COLONY SIX had something special in the way of musical talent and appeal?
RAY: The cumulative ability of all the players to write songs and create the hooks, musical interludes, etc., that would complete each tune - and the overwhelming camaraderie that may have been a result of our all going to school together (except Greg AKA Craig, who went to Steinmetz, I believe - home of the famous Academic Cheaters, memorialized in the flick "Cheaters" starring that comedian who was in that comedy with the Olsen (Olson?) twins and recently appeared on that MTV reality show where they put a bunch of famous and semi-famous and formerly famous folks in the same house and see what happens... - I'm not too great with names, am I?)

FH:  I want to go a little deeper into the original forming of the band.  I know the story's been repeated SO many times over the years that it's almost become an instinctive, conditioned response.  But SURELY you guys MUST have had some musical background prior to this one gig ... to even know who to hook up with!!!
RAY:  I know Chic and Wally worked together in a band - not sure if Gerry was part of it too, but neither Pat nor I ever played with any group prior to starting NC6.  Don't know about Craig (AKA Greg) ... We did not have to resource one another because of our interfacing through the concert choir and dance band at St. Pat's - those settings more or less threw us together for the Beatles' thing, and then the expansion to become a band only made sense with the same bunch of guys.  Although, we did have a different keyboard player for the single party we did as the Patsmen.  He was also from the school, but a sophomore while we were seniors.

FH:  Actually, that was my next question!  OK ... I've got to know ... WHO were the PETE BEST / STUART SUTCLIFF individuals who have since spent most of their adult lives murmuring under their breath "I coulda been a contendah .... I coulda been a contendah!"
RAY:  Chris Wolski played accordion for the party but his parents did not want him hanging around with us older guys so he was forced to quit - that's when Wally volunteered his cousin, Greg, for the band.  I wonder what ever happened to Chris and how he must have felt when we hit it big?  The other guy's name was Tony Lux ... I guess both he and Chris Wolski have probably wondered about what might have been - maybe one day our paths will cross and I can ask them.

FH:  The format of the band was MOST unusual for the time ... two lead singers that didn't play a "primary" instrument ... a precursor to THREE DOG NIGHT perhaps?!?!?
RAY:  Pat was a baritone and I was a tenor, for whatever that's worth as a stab at an explanation. 

FH:  How is it that this PARTICULAR group of guys happened to come together that night? 
RAY:  Remember, this was a regularly scheduled annual event for the St. Pat's choir and dance band.  Pat and I had been best friends pretty much all through grammar school (St. Celestine in Elmwood Park ... also in the 1960 grad class with us - Lee Loughnane, trumpet player for Chicago - quite a musically prodigious bunch of 8th graders, eh? - and Wally and I were pretty much best friends all through high school.  I met Chic and Gerry since we all were in the College Prep course path at St. Pat's and had some classes together, but we only got close at the time we began to rehearse for the Spring concert and our live version of "I Wanna Hold Your Hand."

With so much focus on The New Colony Six again, I'm tempted to revamp the original month-long series I did on the group back in 2005 and include new interviews with some of the key players BEYOND Ray and Ronnie ... try to capture more of the total story.  As such, if you have a way to put me in touch with Chris Wolski, I'd love to talk to him.  (Of course in our current state of social distancing, this may not happen for a while ... if I were confined to home, this would be the PERFECT time to work on this project, even by telephone and/or email ... but I'm still putting in 50-60 hours a week at work as we're on the "exceptions" list.  Still, if I could get enough of the "formers" to participate, this would bring a whole new dimension to our series of yesteryear. And I’m feeling especially motivated to dig a little deeper in order to try and capture more of the story.)

Think of the reminisces we could share if ALL of the guys participated … we’d see the group from a number of new and different angles.  (Let’s face it, since the hits stopped back in 1972, Ray and Ronnie seem to be the ONLY ones being interviewed … I say let’s get input from ALL of the guys in order to tell the bigger story!)  kk

Ray added this piece of input:

Thanks, Kent –
I thought Chris was two years behind us but, regardless, just hope he and his dad did not have disagreements after the band began making its mark … 
By the way, we lost our second of our four major roadies within the past few months as Gerry, who heard from Chuck, just shared with me that “Fat Marty” passed away recently.  Chet, of course, is gone, leaving really only Steve Thorpe, who I believe moved out of state a while ago but who had come to several of the re-formed NC6 dates, including that Christmas show at “Pheasant Run” where he sat with Chet … and Rick Saunooke (may not have spelled that correctly, a Native American who was our first driver but he has disappeared off the map – photo of him with cigarette in hand from ancient times attached.)
I did a Google search and did find an artist who was born in Chicago and not sure but could be our Rick – check site ( and his photo – ya think?????? 
Anyway, many deep thank you sentiments are merited and offered by yours truly and so cool to see today that perhaps a few of the FH readers apparently had enough interest to bump up the “listens” of the Madrid, Spain version of “You’re Gonna Be Mine”!  Workday over so must pack computer to work from the house tomorrow = later, KK…     
P.S.  That is, I believe, Marty’s voice in the middle of “Come Away With You,” where Billy Herman screwed up the bridge vocal --- loud deep laugh and then I think he says “Cracks me up…”

And check this out …
I was poking around on You Tube and stumbled on this by accident.  Pretty cool version, eh?  What do y'all think?  Messed up or revised our lyrics but I like it anyway ...     
You Are Gonna Be Mine (New Colony Six cover)
First album by The Holdens for Animal Records
Recorded in 2002 at Attack Studio (Madrid)   

And this is a Forgotten Hits first!!!
Never before in the history of Forgotten Hits have we EVER been able to tie TWO references to Spain back-to-back together in one of our pieces!
But it just goes to show you the far-reaching range of our reading audience … and the far-reaching appeal of the music of The New Colony Six … a true testament to the mark they made on so many.
Check this out!!!  (kk) 

Hi there,
It's Emi from Spain.
I'm compiling a list of record cover locations and I'd like to find out where the photo was taken that appears on the cover of the album "Colonization" by The New Colony Six.
It's a stone stair.  Do you know where? If you can help, please contact me.
Thank you.

Hi Emi - Thanks for writing in!
To get your your answer, I went to three of the original members of The New Colony Six who were there for that photo shoot ... Ray Graffia, Jr., Gerry Van Kollenburg and Walt Kemp ... and we have your definitive answer ... 
I'm reasonably positive it was in Lincoln Park.  My best guess beyond that is that it was at the ground level of the structure … not technically a staircase … of the Ulysses S Grant monument.  Go figure.
Walt Kemp  

I think that it was taken somewhere in Lincoln Park in Chicago …
Possibly near the Grant Memorial (architecture looks the same.)

Hoping I can find this online.  Somebody sent this to me on Facebook.  I remember seeing a piece where they took pictures of sites used as album covers and one of them was "Colonization." It was down by Lake Michigan but they had it dead-on framed and showed the site and cover side-by-side.  

Found it!  


P.S.  I just want to reiterate how very much I appreciate the coverage! 
Thank you so much. 
It is my pleasure ... and I just LOVE sharing the love!  (kk) 

Hi Kent,
I really liked the recent post and song about NC6, Muddy Feet on the Mississippi.  Keep up the good work. Thx 
Ted Gstalder 

Love the two New Colony Six videos.  "Can't You See Me Cry" is just an awesome tribute to Ray's live vocal and "Groovin' Is Easy" was a song written by Ron Rolte.  Ron was a Chicagoan who went to San Francisco (as so many did from Chicago.)  He ended up writing the song for the Electric Flag (also a Chicago connection band of Mike Bloomfield and Barry Goldberg as members from Chicago via SF)!
Some GREAT vintage photos of the NC6 in that Rap-a-Tap video, too.  THANKS for sharing, Ray!
Cool to see the RJM song on a Bee Gees themed CD now too!!    Great input from the NC6 guys on "Muddy Feet," too.  That whole underappreciated 70's era of the band was great, IMO.
Clark Besch  

I also finally heard from Skip Griparis …

Hi Kent!
Glad to hear Muddy Muddy Feet is getting some attention! Almost 50 years too late, but why quibble? 
New Colony Skip
Skip and I will be talking more in the future about his time with the band.  (I’m telling you … a new, updated, revamped New Colony Six feature is in our future!!!) [Or maybe I should just write a book?!?!?]  kk

>>>There's an unusual header at the top of this week's WCFL chart, announcing the continued success of B.J. Thomas' hit "Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head."  (I can't see ANY instance in which this would still be a "Top Ten Hit" ... it has long since fallen off the 'CFL chart, already replaced by B.J.'s next single "Everybody's Out Of Town," which sits at #30 this week ... and even nationally, where it charted for as many as 22 weeks in Billboard and Cash Box, based on a premier date of October 25th, 1969, it would have fallen off these charts about three weeks ago as well.)  kk

As to "Raindrops" getting special recognition on today's 50 year old WCFL Big 10 Countdown Survey, I think it likely that it was still praised because it was from "Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid" movie which had just won "Best Song" at the Academy Awards and was also featured in a Chicago Trib story a day before the survey came out.  Remember that back in 1970, there was no googling the info the newspaper provided. 
BTW, one of my fave Who songs was on the WCFL chart 50 years ago and its' lyrics a bit nice for today.  "The Seeker" sits at #22:
Look at my face, ain't this a smile?
I'm happy when life's good
And when it's bad I cry
I've got values but I don't know how or why
I'm looking for me
You're looking for you
We're looking in at other
And we don't know what to do
They call me The Seeker
I've been searching low and high
I won't get to get what I'm after
Till the day I die
I won't get to get what I'm after
Till the day I die
Clark Besch

The 4/27/70 WCFL survey has puzzled me for years.  However, I will try to explain what the heck WCFL is talking about.
In the thousands of surveys that have passed thru my hands over the years, I have never seen that notation pop up anywhere either, but read what it says carefully.
It says REPORTED top ten.
Now what exactly does that mean?
As most of us thought, back in the day, survey status was dependent upon sales.
Tain't so.
None other than the late Clark Weber said the last half the survey and for sure the bottom ten were “throw them up to the ceiling and see what sticks” songs. Sometimes he'd go home and tell his secretary to pick the last few.  Do you really believe that Billboard called every place that sold records asking them exactly how many units they sold? Do you really think that every outlet kept track?
So part of the tabulation does come from sales, but not in the way you think.
In various markets you have what are called "reporting" stores. The national publications, as well as local radio, call the store and ask what the top sellers are.
Now you say, “Jack, didn't you just say stores don't keep track?”
I did.
Chances are the person who answers the phone is some kid who has no clue what the ACTUAL top selling song is and for sure not even the boss would know, although they could give you a fairly accurate guess.  It's also possible they lie thru their teeth. I would. In fact, record labels continually asked stores to stretch the truth in an all out effort to break an artist, or to squeeze a few more pennies out of a song they know is crap.
Once a week, or so, the label rep stops at KK records and begins the schmooze. He flirts with the pretty counter girl, gives her a couple promos, maybe even some concert tix, before talking to the boss. He then goes to KK's office and lays it on thick. Now you've heard this rap a 1000 times … he knows it, too. It's a game. 
He goes, “KK, my man! How's it hangin'? We got the new Charlene 45 everyone (no one?) has been waiting for! When WLS calls please tell them the sales look good.” He hands you a pair of tix for the Temptations reunion show with the Four Tops. Yes, I know I'm using Motown as an example and BJ was on Scepter at the time. This also works the other way. Raindrops was a monster hit ... 22 weeks in 1970 certainly qualifies as one. Should it really come as a surprise that at some stores it was selling as well as the Guess Who or Vanity Fare? It's also possible that Scepter records wanted to keep BJ's name in lights while they try breaking his new record, Everybody's Out Of Town.
Having worked for record companies, including a couple as 45 & LP buyer, I sat in at sales meetings every Friday, and heard the same spiel by a half dozen record reps. The Arista rep would come in, telling us about Paul Davis, followed by the Chrysalis rep, pushing Huey Lewis, and then Motown pushing Charlene. I remember the Motown rep wanting me to purchase like 10,000 copies of the single. I told him to go see my boss, as I wasn't gonna put my name on the order and then have him bitch at me for it. I won't get into the spiels by the smaller labels and the no hit wonders.
That's the Cliff Notes version.
From Tom Spillane of Character Driven Films …

You can watch our Charlie Gracie "Fabulous" film free online for a limited time. This film was shown on PBS affiliates nationally over 2,000 times and is in The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Archives.
Featuring Graham Nash, Chubby Checker, Peter Noone, Andy Williams, Fabian, Frankie Avalon, DJ Fontana, Tommy James, Dennis Diken, The Soul Survivors, Freddy Cannon, Bob Charger, Paul Moore, Bill Haley's Comets, Stephen Caldwell, The Dovell's, Jack Scott, Len Barry and many others.
Synopsis:  Charlie Grace Fabulous chronicles the life and career of Rock and Roll Pioneer, Charlie Gracie. His #1 Hit "Butterfly" knocked Elvis from the top of the charts in 1957 and sold over three million copies Worldwide. He was the first artist on The Cameo-Parkway Record Label to have hits, bankrolling the company, thus enabling it to launch the careers of a dozen successful artists. He was the first solo American Rock-N-Roll Star to bring the music to The British Concert stage. Paul McCartney, Van Morrison, Graham Nash and Ray Davies are among his biggest musical admirers. The late George Harrison called his guitar technique "Brilliant."  He continues to be a great ambassador for Rock-N-Roll, performing the roots of Rock-N-Roll all over the world. Cast and Credits:

This is a great film, spotlighting one of rock and roll’s earlier (and too often overlooked) heroes.  Be sure to check it out via the link above (now that you’ve got all this extra time on your hands!!!)  kk 

FH Reader Frank B. shared this picture with us from Carol Canoe’s Facebook Page …

kk –
Picture from the 2012 "SOLID SILVER TOUR" – 

Brian Poole = Tremelos / Peter Noone = Everybody, he's Herman or Henry, if you prefer / Chris Montez = Poor Man's Ritchie Valens / Brian Hyland = My schoolmate from FRANKLIN K. LANE HIGH SCHOOL.

And, speaking of Peter Noone …

Hi Kent,

Given that we all love our Peter Noone, I thought I'd pass this along.
Bill Scherer
This is a good interview.  Thanks, Bill!  (kk) 

SO, here I am self-isolating in my basement with some of my good friends, including the ALMOST (July, 1970) 50 year old marble vinyl Dave Mason first solo LP, appropriately titled "ALONE TOGETHER"!!!
At the time, an LP like this colored vinyl one just wasn't normal by any means.  We occasionally got a yellow or red or blue vinyl promo 45, but never anything like this LP.  It also came in a trifold cover that made Dave almost life-like as well! 
Dave had split with Traffic and with one of the members (Jim Capaldi) and Leon Russell, created a worthy first solo LP of music that equaled the jacket and marble vinyl.  SOON, the hit "Only You Know & I Know" would be pulled from the album and he was on his way.
As to that PR&R 45 "The British are Coming," it's not bad.  I have the 45, but never heard it when it was out in 1976.  Just another song cashing in on the country's 100th birthday.  The song was produced by legendary producer Ray Ruff.
In the meantime, it's kinda fun self-isolating, y'know?
Clark Besch

>>>With wild animals now walking thru big cities, it may be time for comebacks from Three Dog Night, Steppenwolf, Stray Cats, Crazy Horse, Buffalo Springfield, Monkees, Country Joe & the Fish, Byrds, Yardbirds, Eagles, Turtles, Adam Ant, Beatles, Animals, T. Rex and more!!!  (Clark Besch)
Watch out for the beasties!
Mike Wolstein